My interest in ham radio started as a high school freshman. My homeroom teacher was a ham and got me into some local classes including a CW class offered by the local radio club. However, I could not achieve the 5 wpm code. The biggest problem was the distractions for a high school boy: cars and girls. Those distractions won out for a few years until, while attending Indiana University, I began working on campus for a ham who shared the hobby with me and let me operate his station. I got hooked again. This time I tackled code and won, getting my novice ticket in 1983 and becoming KA9RLT.
I had a blast that first year with my Century 21 transceiver and random wire antenna. A year later I upgraded to Advanced Class and became KD9JZ, traded the rig in on a Ten Tec Omni D and got to know a microphone. But CW was always my main mode. A few years later as the date approached where the 20 wpm code requirement would be dropped I made it a goal to upgrade to Extra Class and pass that 20 wpm test. I did it! Soon after that I traded that 2X2 call for N9OL!
I have always operated mostly CW and still do. My favorite key is a Lightning Bug, and I enjoy ragchewing. But until this past year I never seemed to improve my proficiency in CW above the 18-21 WPM. Then I found CW Academy. I took a level 2 course led by Mark K5GQ and Van N5TOO and they shared tips, techniques, and tools to help me improve my CW skills and increase my speed of copy. I still have work to do and intend to keep working on becoming a more skilled operator.
I have worked for 30 years as a manager of computer systems and networks at an energy company. My wife Kim and I reside in Evansville, Indiana and have 2 grown sons and 2 spoiled pups. I have a modest station based on the Kenwood TS-590SG, and I also like to operate portable and mobile, and some QRP.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.